With so many choices available today, how can you be sure that your customers will keep coming back? It’s easy – reward them. Like it or not, we live in a “what’s in it for me” society, so it’s important that you appeal to this by giving your customer base something of value. The more important and valued people feel, the more loyal they’ll become and the more likely they’ll be to share the love. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is through social media. Here are 6 simple ways you can socially reward your customers.
Make it Fun
People love a good challenge, and that’s exactly what drives sites like GetGlue and Foursquare, who offer collectable cyber badges, stickers, pins, etc. that users can gather with repeated visits. These types of rewards foster a sense of fun competition as users try to earn more prizes than their friends (and strangers) as quickly as possible.
So how can you use this strategy for your business? If you have a large enough customer base, you can create your own competition-based experience. You just need to get some digital stickers or stamps, define your goals, and develop a rewards program that will accomplish those goals.
For example, if your aim is to encourage repeat business, your competition might be something along the lines of “buy 5, get the 6th free”. Users receive a stamp for each purchase and once they’ve collected five of them, they’re entitled to their reward. This keeps customers coming back for more. If your goal is to increase your customer base, you might try rewarding your existing customers for recommending their friends and family to your business.
If your customer base is on the smaller side, you might consider joining ranks with an already established collectable rewards company. For instance, you could offer check-in points with Foursquare, where users receive rewards based on how often they “check in” at your business. There are similar programs with GetGlue as well.
Whatever way you choose to do it, offering collectable items is a fun, engaging way to draw customers in and keep them coming back for more.
Offer “Online Only” Discounts
A great way to reward your customers while also increasing traffic to your website and boosting your online sales is to offer exclusive deals for shopping with you via the internet. Some excellent techniques for this include:
- Offering discounts or special offers to your email subscribers
- Offering printable coupons on your website, to be used in your store
- Handing out coupon codes to customers who’ve made a purchase, to be used on a future purchase
Each of these tactics provides opportunity for repeat business and makes your customers feel appreciated at the same time. If you’re not sure how to get started, try signing up with an existing company, like Groupon, through which you can reach a large audience with little effort.
Run a Content Creation Competition
Offering free giveaways is great for your customers, but making them compete for it through content creation competitions is better for your business. That’s because it lets you use digital technology and social media to get free publicity for your brand. Have participants create some type of content in order to qualify, such as a short 30-90 second video that shows them using your product, and encourage them to share their entries with their own networks. The more people that view, like or vote on the entries, the more exposure you’ll get for your brand.
The trick to making this type of contest a success is not just in promoting it well, but also in offering the right prize. The more work that your contestants have to put into creating their entries, the better the prize should be. If you can’t afford to give away something super expensive, just think of what you could offer that would be of the most value to your customers (i.e. a free product or service that you provide). You want it to be worthwhile enough that, not only will your customers want to enter the contest, but they’ll also want to share it with their friends.
Once you have a winning video, incorporate it into your marketing efforts. (For help on how to do this effectively, see our article: How to Integrate Video into your Social Media Marketing.)
Make Your Marketing Customer-Centric
People like to feel appreciated for giving you their business. What better way to recognize them than by incorporating them directly into your marketing efforts? Whether it’s asking them to submit ad designs or commercial ideas, or simply including them in pictures or reviews on your company website, when your customers feel that they are a part of your brand, they’ll be more likely to proudly promote it. Give your customers their “15 minutes of fame” and encourage them to share with their friends to increase your brand’s exposure.
Host a Virtual Suggestion Box
Ask your customers to submit feedback or suggestions and then post the best ones on your social media channels and ask people to vote. You can then take the suggestions that received the most votes and implement them into your business model. This tactic has worked successfully for a number of popular brands, including Starbucks and Dell. Not only does the customer who made the winning suggestion feel validated, but those who voted do as well because they see that you’ve listened and care about their feedback. As an added bonus, your business will improve and grow to better serve your customers.
A Simple ‘Thank You’
Too often we spend so much time brainstorming the perfect way to reward our customers that we overlook the simplest of tools: a sincere ‘thank you’. Whether you do this by offering freebies, organizing a customer appreciation event or just encouraging your team to always say ‘thanks’ after every transaction, your customers will feel appreciated. Appreciation develops into loyalty and loyalty leads to valuable word-of-mouth marketing.
You can implement this tactic for your business a number of ways. Use social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, to monitor what’s being said about your brand and participate in the conversation. Offer giveaways, discounts or exclusive offers in your newsletters as a way to thank your existing customers for their business. Include birth date as a field on your signup forms, and send a note to each customer on their special day. Think about how you’d like to be recognized by a company that you do business with, and use that tactic to reward your own customers.
When you reward customers, you not only solidify a relationship with them, but you also create opportunities to further promote your brand and increase your customer base. These six strategies will help you better connect with your customers and make them feel appreciated, which will in-turn reward your business with more success.